For the second consecutive year, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has vetoed a bill that would make it easier for transgender people to change the gender on their birth certificates.
Christie today vetoed a measure that would have allowed trans people to make the change to their lived gender as long as they have certification from a doctor that they have undergone clinically appropriate transition treatment, which could include hormone therapy or other procedures and is not limited to surgery, reports NJ.com, a site for several New Jersey newspapers. Current standards require the person to have undergone surgery, which many transgender people cannot afford and others do not seek.
Christie, who vetoed a similar bill in January 2014, once again cited concerns about fraud as the reason for his action. “I remain committed to the principle that efforts to significantly alter State law concerning the issuance of vital records that have the potential to create legal uncertainties should be closely scrutinized and sparingly approved,” he wrote in a statement explaining the veto.
Democratic Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, one of the sponsors of the bill, said Christie, who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination, is pandering to conservatives with the veto.
“Instead of updating a standard state procedure to be more inclusive and reflective of our changing society, the governor has once again chosen to pander to the right by masquerading behind baseless arguments,” she told NJ.com.
The National Center for Transgender Equality also denounced Christie’s move. “For the second time, Gov. Chris Christie has elected to allow his state’s birth certificate laws to deteriorate despite the overwhelming majority of support from the New Jersey legislature to modernize,” said a statement issued by the group’s state policy counsel, Arli Christian. “His veto on this bill keeps in place outdated and burdensome requirements that make it incredibly difficult for transgender people to get birth certificates that match who they are. Birth certificates play an enormous role in transgender people’s ability to live their life as the person that they are. And Gov. Christie has — for a second time — vetoed legislation denying that for transgender New Jerseyans.”
To date, nine states and the District of Columbia have updated their procedures for changing gender on birth certificates, in keeping with current medical recommendations, according to the center. Its staff intends to continue working with New Jersey LGBT groups to assure that a similar bill eventually becomes law.